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News - 17 June 2011

Greater clarity on Localism Bill


The measures, contained in the government's Localism Bill, currently in its final Parliamentary stages, are central to Mr Cameron's Big Society vision.

Decentralisation minister Greg Clark said: "There should be a double devolution of power from central government to local government and to people and communities."

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has urged that the new Localism Bill be made more business friendly. The area of Planning has been highlighted as a major concern

The Director of Policy at the BCC said:

"One of the areas of greatest concern to business is the potential for the localism agenda to further complicate the planning system. For too long, the scales have been weighted against companies seeking to expand their premises and invest in their local areas, despite taking a responsible and sustainable approach to development."

The BCC sees that recognition needs to be made of the fact that local councils should be accountable to firms as well as to residents, and that local companies must be seen as constituents not just tick-box consultees.

This also needs the Coalition Governments full backing, David Cameron and Nick Clegg have both trumpeted their commitment to breaking Whitehall's grip on power and handing decision-making to local people.

Greg Clark also said: "There should be a double devolution of power from central government to local government and to people and communities.

"The Localism Bill will create new rights to challenge the way local services are provided, purchase important community assets, and to create neighbourhood plans."

The Bill is due to go through the House of Lords, we will report on its findings when it is available.

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